B2B prospecting is critical for business growth. Without an effective sales funnel to create new sales, your company would go out of business quickly. Acquiring new clients is becoming more difficult as leads and prospects are always overwhelmed with how often they are approached for sales.
In today’s competitive market, your prospecting approach must be well thought out and backed by the latest technologies to make the process as efficient as possible. What are the most effective methods for attracting leads and qualifying prospects? How should you prospect for sales? With this guide, you’ll learn the following:
Prospecting is the process of seeking out new clients to grow your company. Prospecting, after the research phase, entails moving prospects through the conversion funnel and making every attempt to increase the number of leads who will eventually become customers.
The purpose of B2B prospecting strategies is to locate new clients and incorporate them into your sales pipeline. To prospect successfully, your sales reps must qualify leads, initiate discussions, and nurture connections to improve their sales funnel and finally close the transaction.
A successful B2B sales prospecting strategy backed by the latest technology will make your prospecting activities streamlined and more efficient, allowing you to concentrate on selling and acquiring new business. In this blog, we’ll discuss prospecting tactics, how to identify the perfect prospect, how to enhance your team’s lead generating process, and ways to locate and interact with new customers.
A sales lead is a person who has shown curiosity in your products and/or business through their actions (filling out a survey, for example). A B2B prospect, however, can also be a possible customer who connects well with your existing customer base. These two categories can and often do overlap with each other. In both circumstances, your primary objective is the same: to convert as many leads or prospects as possible into customers. So how does one prospect for sales? Here’s a quick rundown:
First, you look for existing potential leads and prospects, and then you employ a set of criteria to determine the likelihood that a lead or B2B prospect will become a client. The next stage is to do preliminary research and learn more about them so that you can tailor your emails. Once you’ve done that, you should start contacting them to set up the first meeting. The initial phone conversation with a business prospect is commonly referred to as the introductory call.
In B2B, this meeting may be made in person or through messages and conference calls. After that, it becomes a question of evaluating and qualifying the needs of the B2B prospect to identify the constraints that are stopping them from using your product. This allows you to create a personalized solution for them based on any budget, time, or capability limitations. This helps to pique their interest and ideally will turn them into your customers.
Finally, your internal team aims to close a deal and turn your prospective leads into customers.
At a first glance, it may seem that prospecting and lead generation are interchangeable. Yes, both jobs contribute to the development of the company. They are, however, components of two distinct processes that produce different outcomes. As a result, it’s essential to understand the difference between them to choose and implement the appropriate strategy for generating leads.
Sales prospecting allows you to connect with potential customers who are interested in the goods or services you provide. The sales department’s prospecting objective begins as soon as lead creation ends and comes before the pitching starts. This requires a one-to-one approach to create a two-way street between companies and their clients. It is a relatively brief activity in which the sales team rapidly identifies and qualifies customers to keep them progressing through the sales funnel.
Lead generation, however, helps in the creation of brand recognition and growing a possible client’s interest in a company and its products. The marketing team, rather than the sales team, is in charge of lead generation. Lead generation takes a one-to-many strategy, which is comparable to a broadcast or one-way communication in which companies talk to consumers. It is a lengthy process in which marketers seek to build a brand image, raise awareness, and engage a large target population.
You might also be asking yourself, “Why is prospecting an important activity for salespeople?”
One of the most apparent benefits of prospecting is that you get more qualified leads, and more crucially, customers who are ready to purchase right now. Prospecting is the ideal strategy to complete transactions as rapidly as possible, given that studies show around 62% of buyers want to interact with a salesperson during the discovery stage.
Before making contact, you may anticipate the customer’s needs and provide a value proposition using sales prospecting strategies. Naturally, if you can help increase the client’s profitability and answer their individual key problems, the prospect will most likely convert to a customer.
It’s important to note that standing out in a hypercompetitive B2B market is key. Knowing all there is to know about the prospect helps your sales staff adapt their presentation to the client. In addition to tailoring your proposals and applying targeted selling, selecting the best channel for communication is key when making contact. Sales prospecting allows you to determine a prospect’s chosen method of contact, whether it’s cold calling or social media outreach. Instead of chasing dead leads, your sales force will target the most appropriate individuals using smart sales prospecting tactics. Furthermore, it enables them to engage directly with decision-makers, hence, shortening the sales cycle. As a consequence, firms that use sales prospecting tend to experience increased productivity.
At the end of the day, not all leads will convert into customers. However, the data gathered throughout the process might provide insights into prevailing market conditions and customer behavior. As a consequence, businesses may make data-driven choices and rethink their strategies, which will benefit them in the long term. This makes prospecting an important activity for salespeople.
Outbound B2B marketing involves the organization taking the first step in reaching out to potential leads and customers. It’s vital to state the purpose of your call from the beginning when calling targeted clients to offer them goods or services.
Inbound B2B prospecting strategies include the process of connecting with individuals who have previously engaged with your company, such as those who are already leads. In this case, the lead initiates contact first. For example, one might visit a webpage or sign up for an email newsletter. A corporation has numerous methods at its disposal to engage in conversation with the target audience. Email is the most often employed medium, and it is generally automated.
However, social media is increasingly becoming a popular choice for inbound prospecting. Since you already have client contact details and interaction history, it simplifies the research part of the process.
Prospecting is a vital step of the sales cycle that sets the stage for the rest of the prospecting process. That’s why it is so important to identify your targeted market segment and target demographics before you begin prospecting or asking, “How should I prospect for sales?” By developing a set of search criteria, you can save both effort and time that would otherwise be spent on unsuitable leads that don’t fit your desired customer profile.
When defining your ideal client profile, it’s best to distinguish between individuals who want your product and those who actually intend to buy it. If someone is interested in what you have to offer, it doesn’t always indicate that they are a qualified lead. To begin identifying your ideal prospect, go into your customer relationship management (CRM) tool and check out customer history. Keep an eye out for industries with the greatest conversion rates and client categories with the highest order ratio. Examine the characteristics they share and the duration of their respective sales cycles.
You must also establish your income potential for your service or product in addition to describing your ideal prospect. Finding a few outstanding prospects is great, but you must be able to ensure that there are enough possibilities to drive demand that generates high income and profitability for your company. Measuring your total addressable market (TAM) allows you to evaluate your market share, revenue, and future growth within your particular target market.
You’ll need dependable lead sources to identify new consumers. These are directories, websites, and other resources that may give correct prospect information.
When a business recruits for a certain function, it indicates that it wants to devote more time and focus to that area. For example, if you’re trying to recruit new loan officers or real estate agents, you should examine new technology, tools, and services to help them in that role. You may find listings that match your consumer persona job titles by exploring employment sites like Indeed and Glassdoor.
Trade shows and industry groups are both excellent places to locate prospects that suit your desired profile. On their websites, most industry organizations mention their members or member firms. These directories might be an excellent source for new customers. Partner organizations, authors, and other listings in business periodicals may also contain leads for new prospects.
While the methods described above are beneficial, manually gathering and analyzing prospects may be time-consuming. Use an efficient prospecting CRM tool to expedite the process. For example, some systems enable you to acquire high-quality prospect data based on parameters such as job title, firm size, geography, and industry without leaving your CRM. Using these technologies, your sales team can quickly gather contact information, compose and send a fresh tailored email, and build and automate follow-up activities.
Alternatively, consider hiring firms that work on a contractual basis to do the heavy lifting for you and spare you the time and resources required to hire and manage an entire sales department.
If you want, you may start from scratch with your B2B prospecting database. Following some of the above-mentioned tactics, such as scanning LinkedIn profiles or dedicating some time on Google, is a good place to start. You should also think about purchasing a prospect mailing list. Purchasing a B2B database from a reputable data source offers you an advantage in the lead generation process. You’ll have a pre-arranged list of firms, so you can begin investigating, pre-qualifying, and ranking them.
Prioritization will help your sales agents to focus on leads with the highest likelihood of progressing down the sales pipeline and becoming customers. The more thoroughly you define and rate your ideal prospects based on their degree of interest, purpose, and money, the less effort and resources you’ll spend on connections that will most likely go cold.
Create some criteria for prioritizing your leads and have your sales team concentrate on one sort of customer at a time. High-priority prospects tend to be influential and have decision-making roles within their respective firms. They would frequently interact with your product channels such as your website and social media and would also align perfectly with your ideal persona of a prospect.
Ideally speaking, they would also have a clearly defined challenge that your organization is capable of pursuing. Low-priority prospects, on the other hand, have undefined problems, with weaker roles in their respective firms and infrequent interactions with your social channels. Most lead management software allows you to allocate lead-scoring progress, which can help the members of your sales team know whom to focus on in their ongoing targeting efforts.
Now that your agents know who they want to contact, they must acquire further information on their individual prospective leads. They may tailor their approach and produce a more memorable initial message by searching for possible connection points.
Here are some things to look out for. First, look into mutual relationships. Closely examine shared connections to see if they might help go forward with a discussion. This will include mutual acquaintances, alumni, or members of an association. Then, look into their interests or passions. Visit their social media accounts to learn more about their hobbies and problems. This may also assist you in determining what kind of a community they are a part of or the events they attend regularly and could help you reach out to them.
After successfully completing this research, you will be able to gauge the type of networking events where you can find your prospective clients. This can also be linked to “trigger events” that you can search for. It involves any form of engagement that they may have had with your brand, whether it’s visiting the website or signing up for your newsletter. Additional information, such as the search phrase or the content of the post, will also influence the initial message that you send out to them.
The first point of contact should be short and focused on solving a particular issue by providing a specific solution. Refer to the material and connections discovered when you were researching your prospects—anything that the person or company is aiming for—and relate it to your solution. This goes a long way in making the message relevant and appealing.
Prioritize initiating a meaningful discussion over immediately attempting to schedule a meeting. The message should offer value, assist the prospect as much as possible, and attempt to determine if both sides would earn value from working together.
The most effective cold messages and calls adhere to a winning formula. If you really want your prospect to read your emails or remain on the phone, begin with your purpose, concentrate on your prospect’s pain areas, ask open-ended questions, provide social proof, and listen with intent.
Make sure your team has the most up-to-date sales material to offer to prospects, such as a pre-recorded presentation, pricing sheets, and other useful information. Let your sales department enable your team to perform at its best. Your salespeople may also remain in touch indirectly via social selling, such as posting relevant social media status updates or articles about the prospect’s interests.
Having these documents prepared beforehand, or better yet, available in a templatized form for your leads, will make the prospecting process much more efficient and reliable.
Yes, understanding your product, giving a nice presentation, answering all the questions right, and building a connection are all important, but if you don’t follow up, the odds of losing sales are quite high. But why is this the case?
Simply said, marketing their own goods or services is the client’s first goal. They are busy making their own companies successful, and although your service could help them accomplish that, they often find other businesses that offer comparable services and goods to help them. People may appreciate your presentation, but they will not remember you for the following few weeks and will move on to the next service supplier.
Many B2B sales teams extensively depend on emailing prospects since it offers various benefits over other modes of communication. An email can visibly layout vital information that your prospect may need in a manner that phone conversations cannot. It also generates a document that may be easily sent to a key decision-maker.
Emails also allow the prospect to analyze the offer on their own time and spend the required time researching your product and organization. When sending a cold email, your sales personnel should try to make it as personalized and helpful to the prospect as possible. Customized emails have a greater possibility of attracting the prospect’s attention and initiating a conversation.
Some tips for writing good cold emails include using short and simple sentences so they are readable on mobile devices and easily skimmable. With this in mind, one should also include clear and visible calls to action within the contents of the email, while personally referring to the prospect by name in the subject line to add a personalized flair.
Getting a B2B prospect on the phone may help your salespeople provide a more personalized experience. Salespeople can develop a stronger relationship with a prospect by hearing their voice and gauging their response. Telephone calls have a few distinct benefits over email. They may, for example, capture a prospect’s attention more readily than a cold message. Because the connection is created in real time (rather than over the span of numerous emails), phone conversations have the ability to shorten how long it takes to close a business deal because trust is established more rapidly.
Many people consider LinkedIn to be the most essential work-related social media network. It’s an excellent platform for social selling to engage with prospective customers. Your salespeople may use it to find prospects who meet certain criteria such as business size, geography, job description, and more.
Furthermore, LinkedIn groups may be an excellent approach to initiate value-based discussions with potential clients. For example, if anyone asks a question about your firm, your representative may send them a personal message with help and information. It’s an excellent technique to establish credible relationships with prospective customers.
A tip for interacting with others on LinkedIn would be to create an identifiable professional brand with a consistent visual aesthetic. It also helps to share industry insights since most people on the app tend to engage with those they consider to be industry leaders.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s essential to engage with users on the platform to be seen as a helpful expert, educate users, and draw in more prospective clients.
Hosting instructional webinars is an excellent way to engage prospective customers. You may attract qualified leads by selecting a subject that corresponds to a frequent pain point they experience. The webinar should provide value to the prospect’s life by educating or alerting them about a pain point or issue.
Product demonstrations, digital marketing, or education on specific themes are the ideal webinar formats for B2B. Webinars can provide valuable information that might aid in the sales prospecting cycle. Many webinars may include data such as name, position, or business name. This would contain information about how invested or observant your prospect was throughout the webinar, which can help your salespeople prioritize whom to contact.
Some tips for hosting a webinar include inviting the visitors to watch a replay since many people tend to join in days after a webinar has already ended. Make sure that the basic elements such as the visuals and sound quality are top-notch so that the webinar goes through without hiccups. You can also templatize a workflow for hosting webinars as they follow a relatively similar format throughout.
When you’ve finished working with a customer, it’s a good idea to check in and ask for references. Your clientele is likely to remember others in related sectors who might benefit from your services. Furthermore, when contacting prospects, client references provide immediate legitimacy to your organization. While this may seem rather obvious, it will often make up a big chunk of your client prospecting.
Google Alerts allows you to monitor new mentions of a business, a product, or an area of activity in search engines. This feature lets you monitor prospect-specific news feeds or their areas of activity and tailor the prospective relationship, which is useful for personalizing your communications and commercial speech.
Tilkee allows you to track when and how your prospects view your B2B outreach mails, with exact statistics on the duration of time they spent on the email, the links that they choose to click, if they decided to open the accompanying attachment, and so on. Tilkee, in a nutshell, allows you to precisely monitor the activity of your leads via email. The data provided by this application helps you to fine-tune your approach and personalize your engagement with B2B prospecting.
Zapier is a task automation service that helps you automate various tedious tasks, namely connecting your sales applications and tools. For example, you may get an SMS alert when a new email arrives in your subscription box or have an original lead page produced in your relevant lead management software whenever someone subscribes to your newsletter through your website.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as Salesforce, helps you keep track of interactions with prospects and customers. A CRM lets you know when a prospective client visits your website (through tools like Pardot that monitor user behavior and create helpful statistics), saves your contacts and company prospects, stays up to date with your sales, and performs quicker activities such as sending out a message or scheduling an appointment. It’s also helpful in allocating progress scores to your leads so you know which to prioritize and which to ignore.
Crunchbase is the most affordable, user-friendly, and comprehensive startup database that you will find today. Crunchbase is an important resource for developing a list of accounts since most firms begin by selling to other entrepreneurs. This is particularly useful during the list-building phase of the sales prospecting cycle.
Although B2B prospecting is often regarded as one of the most challenging phases of the B2B sales cycle, any combination of the techniques listed above can aid your efforts. Experiment with various tactics and strategies to see which works best for your sales team.
To see results, you’ll need to build an effective program. With a robust process and industry-leading prospect finding and management solutions, you’ll make sure your team takes the crucial actions required to achieve sales targets.
However, managing all of this can be quite the hassle for a company if it doesn’t have the resources to invest in hiring and managing a sales team. At Abstrakt Marketing Group, we take the burden of sales prospecting off of your shoulders so you can focus on creating better products. Let us do the heavy lifting and find the right sales leads for you to contact.